Grégoire Pasquet (Worldia) : "nous voyons l

Grégoire Pasquet (Worldia): “we see the post-covid as a world of opportunities”

Destinations – Weeks go by and tourism finds prospects. I suppose that the recent exit of the President of the Republic reassured you, as for a return to a semblance of normal activity?
Grégoire Pasquet:
Yes, this is a good first step in resuming activity.
We fear a slightly later intra-Schengen opening, but the fact that most European countries are reopening, including Italy, Portugal and Greece, for us is very good news.
This will allow us to maintain acceptable activity over the summer. We were in the unknown until recently to know the list of departures maintained or not. – Europe and the Mediterranean basin represent a good part of your sales?
Grégoire Pasquet:
It is a significant part, with a third of our departures over the summer. Afterwards, you will tell me that there are two other thirds who are currently in the unknown.
This is why I believe that announcements are a reassuring first step, but we are still far from it.
We do not have the total visibility concerning the outside Schengen, in spite of a possible reopening with the countries having mastered the epidemic, we have no certainty, all the more that the decision will depend on the governments of these countries.
However, we are happy and we have a little more visibility. Today, the subject is that we need to know the effective operability of European destinations.
Indeed, if the borders are again permeable, all flights are not reprogrammed, Air France will operate at the end of August 40% of its flight plan, we will be confronted with the reality on the ground. – According to you, is there still a vagueness? Between hotel capacities, sanitary measures, etc.
Grégoire Pasquet:
We will have to do an important job of curation to reassemble all the information and transmit it to our customers. It is also the job of a tour operator.
We provided this support during the hardest part of the crisis and this is what we are doing now that we are in a more positive dynamic, since we no longer plan for cancellations, but departures.
Indeed, there will be an important job to do, but it should happen well at European level, because providers have a court to be able to welcome customers again.
After we have the question of operability which arises, because for example flights departing from Nantes or other provincial airports have been canceled and are still not planned, we are currently looking to resolve this problem.

“What is quite encouraging is that we see clients planning trips outside Schengen” – We observe a very great interdependence of the actors of tourism. A link gives way, everything else is stopped, as we see with the aerial. It might be time for the small internal squabbles to stop, what do you think?
Grégoire Pasquet:
I agree, after I find that throughout the crisis, there were joint actions to carry out, to bring the arguments of the industry to the government.
I find that there was great solidarity.
Historically, in the industry, there has been a beautiful and great family life, with all the advantages and disadvantages that this entails. Except that during the crisis, we were able to speak with one voice, producer and distributor, putting individual interests aside.
You are right, everything is interconnected, but I find that above, we have been united and this should continue, because we all have an interest in restarting the industry.
Despite the good news, we are not yet out of the crisis, nothing has been done yet. – You who provide the travel agencies, have you feared that the agents’ return to work is too late?
Grégoire Pasquet:
No, we didn’t really fear it. Throughout the crisis, we stayed in touch with our partners, be it travel postponements, with 5,000 files.
The fact of remaining present was appreciated, then we tried to animate our community with animations like “Worldia at home”, videos on culinary recipes, talents, destinations, etc.
For the past few weeks, we have allowed them to be able to operate, even without being in their agencies, by restoring a commercial logic. During the reopening, we provided a selection of products that may be less quantitative, but more qualitative, and also strengthened support for travelers.
We are convinced that travelers in this post covid society have an even greater need for digitization and that at the same time, they will want to travel may be a little less but better. We meet these requirements. – Do you have any signs of a resumption of sustained activity?
Grégoire Pasquet:
Absolutely, for the past two weeks, we have seen a recovery.
Unfortunately, we are not on volumes equivalent to those before the crisis, but compared to the almost complete cessation of the industry, we see a recovery in Europe, but not only.
What is quite encouraging is that we see clients planning trips outside Schengen, rather at the end of the year or at the beginning of the next. We are seeing a change in dynamics and state of mind.
The road is still long, but summer is getting easier, with nearby destinations accessible.

“We have both expanded the destination France, …, this time for French travelers” – Have you adapted your products?
Grégoire Pasquet:
As producers of our products, we have in-house expertise and have the ability to adapt our catalog to user demand.
We have both expanded the destination France, our production was rather designed for travelers who came to France, this time for French travelers.
We offer around ten regions available in France, we have also strengthened certain historic destinations in Europe and opened a few countries in Europe.
This last dynamic is not necessarily for the summer, but rather the end of the year with slightly more confidential destinations, such as Slovenia, Hungary, Sweden, etc.
The idea was to strengthen the medium-haul. – You are present on other markets, outside of France, is the recovery making itself felt?
Grégoire Pasquet:
Yes, we even have two partnerships in the USA that are going to be launched, when the crisis had somewhat blocked this work. We see that companies want to restart too.
For the past two weeks, the recovery has been felt everywhere. – A little less than a year ago, you raised 19 million euros. Since Thomas Cook went bankrupt, one of your biggest customers, and the covid has shut down the entire industry. When, like you, you recently arrived in tourism, there is reason to doubt your choice.
Grégoire Pasquet:
I’m not going to hide it from you, these are fairly complex situations to live with, be it Thomas Cook or the Covid-19, but we are a very high-growth company and somewhere, it allows us to absorb these moments.
This corresponds to a slowdown in our growth, rather than a decrease.
You were talking about Thomas Cook, he was one of our historic partners, but once the bankruptcy was announced, we continued to have growth in the order of 50 to 70% in the annual phase.
Our growth rate allows us to absorb these difficult moments, even if the covid is an extreme case. As you said, we have finalized a fundraiser, so we are very well funded.
The covid acts more as a shift in our development plan, rather than a risk for society as such. The government has also supported the sector, which helps to mitigate the impact of the covid in the short term.
The recovery being envisaged for the end of the year, even if we do not know at what level, the measures therefore allow us to cushion the crisis while waiting for the recovery. – You seem very optimistic …
Grégoire Pasquet:
We are optimistic, we see the post-covid as a world of opportunities.
Whether it is digitalization, with personalization that continues even after closing the doors of the travel agency, and the quality of service providers, eco-responsible and respectful of local populations, are strong demands of travelers, which we fulfill .
There is also a strong need for support and customer insurance, enabled by customer service.
We are convinced, by our qualities, of being able to support even more partners than before the covid and they also highlight the need to be supported.
We have the feeling that the covid will accelerate the transformation of the players, to best meet the expectations of the client.
The covid has been and remains very difficult from a business perspective, but we see it as an opportunity.

Future tourism challenge: “there are many challenges in the industry, in everything that is CSR in the broad sense” – What are your expectations for 2020?
Grégoire Pasquet:
The year will be different than the one hoped for.
As we project it, we expect a delay of around a year, compared to what we had anticipated before the Covid-19. The development plan will be postponed, but with the recovery, the signals make us shorten this postponement to 6 months or a year. – This development plan was mainly focused on the international …
Grégoire Pasquet:
It is clearly one of the pillars of our development, but it is already underway, with the signing of partnerships, particularly in the USA.
The United States is part of our priority, just like Europe, like Germany, the Netherlands in September. Then we support another type of distributors, namely CSEs, to allow employees to have a great travel experience.
And because we believe that the world that opens will offer many opportunities, we have in recent weeks invested heavily in our technology. New products will be unveiled during the last quarter of 2020. – Do you see a subject that will be important to address once the crisis is over?
Grégoire Pasquet:
There is a whole problem raised by the demand of travelers around the responsible nature of the services, whether from an ecological, social and local point of view.
If the approach is taken by travelers, professionals must seize it to meet expectations. On everything that is CSR in the broad sense, there are many challenges in the industry. It is our responsibility to bring this subject up and reflect on it.

Posted by Romain Pommier
Journalist –
See all articles of Romain Pommier

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